Abu Ghraib guards to appeal convictions after release of interrogation memos

[JURIST] Lawyers for former Abu Ghraib [JURIST news archive] guards said the guards intend to appeal their convictions of torture and abuse in light of the recent release of four secret CIA interrogation memos [JURIST report], according to a Friday report [text] in the Washington Post. The lawyers said that the memos raise the possibility that the Abu Ghraib guards were punished as scapegoats, and that they were only following orders from their superiors, as opposed to being the few "bad apples" [Times report] they were portrayed as by military command. Yet while some of the abusive tactics used by the Abu Ghraib guards are detailed in the memos, others are not, leading to speculation that there was still creative abuse beyond the scope of their orders. Twelve guards were ultimately convicted of torture and abuse after pictures came to light in 2004 of prisoners at the Abu Ghraib prison in Afghanistan being abused and humiliated.

Earlier this week, chairman of the US Senate Judiciary Committee [official website] Patrick Leahy (D-VT) [official profile] invited [press release and letter; JURIST report] former head of the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) [official website] and federal judge Jay Bybee [official profile], who signed off on one of the recently released memos, to testify before the committee. Last month, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence [official website] released a report [text; JURIST report] by the DOJ indicating that former attorney general John Ashcroft and former secretary of state Condoleezza Rice in 2002 approved the use of waterboarding and other extreme interrogation techniques used by CIA agents against Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archives] detainees. The report supports many of the conclusions of a Novemeber Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) [official website] report [text, PDF; JURIST report] detailing the extent of top Bush administration officials' involvement in implementing the techniques, which was declassified [JURIST report] last month.



 

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